A Highschooler Against the Death Penalty: What Do I Know?
As teenagers, or “children” under the age of 18, we are often disregarded and our voices suppressed because of our age. People like to use our age as an insult by saying “you’re just 16, what do you know?” like that’s supposed to strengthen their argument. I may be sixteen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be educated. Age shouldn’t be used as an excuse to understand what’s right or wrong. And the death penalty is wrong.
I have done my deal of research, and perhaps you have done yours. But, the death penalty doesn’t align with my moral values. And it shouldn’t with yours. It doesn’t matter the severity of a crime, because the death penalty doesn’t do anything to reverse that situation. The reality is that the government uses the death penalty as an excuse to execute people for their wrongdoings, thus creating a false sense of security in today’s society. Crime rates are unaffected by the absence or presence of the death penalty, because crime is done in the heat of a moment and in the heat of passion, not fueled by some meticulous plan. In addition, the prison system was initially built as a rehabilitation center (during a time when the government actually cared about their people), but because these prisons started to overcrowd, they abandoned their statement.
Many love to make the “money” argument. They love to say “what about the taxes?” or “it’s cheaper to execute inmates.” No, it is not. Reputable sources like ACLU have proven that your taxes are not affected by the absence of a death penalty- in fact, death penalties are more costly. This is due to the death row phenomenon, in which an inmate develops severe depression knowing they are on death row, which leads to physical illnesses, requiring medical care. In addition, executing an inmate costs states millions and even billions more due to the drugs they inject the inmates with and the costs of trials and appeals filed when an inmate is on death row.
Serving a life sentence is much more humane- even to the most extreme criminals. If we want to become a more progressive society, then the death penalty should be abolished. We failed Lisa Montgomery, Corey Johnson, and Dustin Higgs this year. We can do better. If you want to help more inmates on death row, I have constructed a website (getoffdeathrow.org) dedicated to amplifying their voices and their stories (because many have suffered as a child at the hands of government incompetence). It may sound like I’m supporting the crimes committed by these prison inmates, but I’m not. Killing people for their wrongdoings is not how we should show that murder is wrong.
By Ashley Xu, website